A Pre-nuptial or Premarital Agreement is a written contract created prior to marriage, seeking to regulate the prospective spouses’ financial liabilities and responsibilities towards each other in the event of their subsequent divorce or separation.

With approximately 45% of marriages ending in divorce, Pre-nuptial Agreements are becoming increasingly popular.

Although the contents of Pre-nuptial Agreements can vary widely, they frequently include provisions for the division of property and spousal support in the event of the breakup of a marriage.

They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery.

Pre-nuptial Agreements provide a good starting point in the event of marriage breakdown, and can be very effective in cases where the marriage itself was short.

Pre-nuptial Agreements provide clear evidence of the assets that each spouse brought to the marriage, and how they wished to deal with those at the start.

Pre-nuptial Agreements can also assist couples who are marrying for a second time in protecting any settlement received from their first marriage.

For those who have inherited, or have assets that have been in their family for generations, a Pre-nuptial Agreement provides a way, potentially, to ring-fence inherited property in the event of a divorce or civil partnership dissolution.

Although currently unenforceable under English Law, where properly drafted by a specialist family solicitor a Pre-nuptial Agreement can be persuasive evidence to the court in setting out how a couple agreed, before they married, to divide their property, and this can have a significant impact on the outcome of a divorce case.